Graduate Degrees and Certificates in Finance

A graduate degree or certificate in finance could equip you with advanced skills in areas such as risk management, investment forecasting and asset management. Learn about program options and courses offered. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind Of Graduate Degree and Certificate Programs in Finance Are Available?

Several schools offer graduate-level degree or certificate programs in finance. Many master's degree candidates complete thesis research and 30 credit hours of coursework in about two years. Most programs will encourage you to choose an area of finance you are most interested in. You may learn how to manage a stock portfolio, assess financial risk factors or appraise the value of a firm. Some programs, such as an investment management track, require a practicum.

If you're interested in a university teaching position, you may look into a Ph.D. program in finance. These programs are focused on applied, independent research that you use to complete a dissertation. You may have to take an assessment exam after your first year, testing core topics such as financial decision making and investment theories. You may also find yourself using applied econometrics to complete a research paper on topics such as anti-competitive behavior or taxation theory. Most Ph.D. programs take 4-5 years to complete.

Finally, if you're not interested in a degree program, but looking for advanced training in finance, many schools offer graduate-level certificate programs. These 1-year programs cover financial investment topics for corporate managers. Most schools will even allow you to apply the credits earned towards a master's degree.

Degree/Certificate Options Finance graduate certificates, master's degrees and doctorates
Online Availability Certificate and master's degree programs available online; online Ph.D. programs not typically offered
Common Courses Financial analysis, security analysis, international finance, microeconomic analysis, econometric methods
Career Options Tenured teacher at college or university, high-level consultant, financial manager, financial analyst

Are Any Of These Programs Offered Online?

Many schools offer online graduate certificate programs in finance as well as master's degree programs. However, you will be hard-pressed to find an online doctoral degree program. Both online certificate and master's degree programs require a reliable Internet connection and an updated operating system. Some programs may also require you to complete assignments using Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You'll also need software to view media, such as Windows Media Player or Acrobat Reader. Most of these programs are available for free.

What Kind Of Courses Will I Take?

You'll find that most master's programs include core courses in financial investments, asset pricing and corporate finance. Once you've completed your core classes, these programs are flexible and will encourage you to tailor your coursework to your own interests. Maybe you're passionate about risk management or maybe you're more interested in financial technologies. Electives may range in topic from international finance to behavioral finance or security analysis.

Doctoral programs will require you to take some advanced math and theory courses, such as theories of probability, microeconomic analysis and econometric methods. The majority of your work will be focused on independent study and completing your dissertation. Some programs may also include teaching and education courses.

Essentially, the curriculum of a certificate program is similar to the core courses offered in a master's degree program. Classes are likely to include portfolio management, financial analysis and quantitative analysis.

What Can I Do With a Degree or Certificate?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you graduate from a master's degree program you may work as a financial manager or financial analyst ( A doctoral degree can place you into a tenured teaching job at a college or university. You may also qualify for a job as a high-level consultant. A certificate can increase your opportunities to advance in a financial career or prepare you for a graduate degree program.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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